Email date: 2/1/07
In this update:
1. Doyle to sign ethics reform bill tomorrow
2. Up next: Campaign finance reform
3. Supreme Court race taking shape
Governor Jim Doyle will sign the ethics reform bill into law tomorrow morning, marking a happy ending to a long, tough fight to revive meaningful enforcement of high ethical standards and accountability in state government. To see newspaper coverage of the near-unanimous approval of the reform measure by the Legislature, go here. For television coverage, go here. To read the editorial on the subject that appeared in this morning’s edition of the state’s largest newspaper, go here.
As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorialized: "Now, on to the vital task of campaign finance reform." That sentiment also was on display in the governor’s State of the State address. Here is what Governor Doyle had to say:
"Tonight, we’ve talked about an aggressive agenda of change and reform. And some pretty big change happened just today. Earlier this afternoon, Republicans and Democrats joined together to agree on the most sweeping ethics reform in thirty years - creating a strong Government Accountability Board that will have the power to enforce our laws, investigate and bring prosecutions against those who violate the public trust. It is a model for what can happen when people in both parties set aside differences and do what’s right, and I look forward to signing it into law.
But we shouldn’t stop there. Every two years, our TV sets are bombarded by nasty and negative ads from shadowy groups that don’t play by the same rules as everyone else. But we can put a stop to it. Tonight, I ask you to end the phony issue ads and require these groups to follow our campaign finance laws. They should disclose their donors, abide by contribution limits, and be forbidden from taking corporate contributions that would otherwise be illegal. Let’s pass this vital reform now, and clean up Wisconsin’s airways.
Finally, we need to improve the way campaigns are financed in Wisconsin. Today, we have new leadership and a new opportunity to achieve consensus. I have asked Speaker Huebsch and Senator Robson to work with me to come up with a strong, comprehensive bill that can win the support of both parties. Let’s get this done, and do what’s right for the people of Wisconsin."
The latest campaign finance reports filed this week not only show record-shattering fundraising and spending in the governor’s race, but they also show that the candidates in the upcoming election for state Supreme Court are well on their way to making this the most expensive campaign ever for the state’s highest court.
The Democracy Campaign has devoted a section of our web site to this spring’s Supreme Court race and just updated it today with the latest figures.